How many physician practices are adopting EMRs?

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Only 12.5% of the 3,000 medical groups with five or fewer full-time physicians surveyed by the Colorado-based Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) have adopted electronic medical record systems (EMRs), reported Modern Healthcare (9/19/05). The bigger the practice gets, the more likely it is to have implemented this technology.

Only 12.5% of the 3,000 medical groups with five or fewer full-time physicians surveyed by the Colorado-based Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) have adopted electronic medical record systems (EMRs), reported Modern Healthcare (9/19/05). The bigger the practice gets, the more likely it is to have implemented this technology.

The survey found that 15.2% of groups with six to 10 full-time physicians had implemented an EMR, the percentages rose further to 18.9% in groups with 11 to 20 physicians and to 19.5% in groups with 21 or more doctors. Looking at it another way, the researchers found that 78% of practices with five or fewer full-time physicians still used paper records, as did 65.8% of practices with 21 or more doctors.

Moreover, the survey found that 12.7% of groups were already implementing EMR systems, 14.2% were planning to adopt them in the next year, and 19.8% were considering getting an EMR system in 13 to 24 months.

Yet, when groups were asked to rate the effect that various government interventions would have on the implementation of EMRs, none of these measures-including financial assistance-was rated as "important" or "very important." According to MGMA President and CEO William Jessee, MD, this survey finding could be explained by "a prevailing opinion that the savings accrued by EMR use will benefit the government or private insurance companies and not the doctors who paid for the systems."

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